Wednesday, December 4, 2013


"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:  but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12
Hope - the definition is "to wish for something with expectation; a desire accompanied by some confident expectation; something that is desired."
I hope I get that promotion. 
I hope he'll be home on time. 
I hope it doesn't snow so I can travel home.
I hope the test results are negative.
I hope Aunt Alice and Uncle Paul get along this year.
Things we desire to happen, things we desire not to happen - they both cause us to hope in the outcome we desire.
When our hope is postponed or put off, we can lose heart, give up.  But when what we hoped for comes to pass, it gives life, gives joy - our hope has been fulfilled.  And we are overwhelmed with gratitude.
In this season of Advent, there is a sense of that hope.  The season of Christmas seems to cause that hope to spring alive in us again; hope is renewed that this year things can be different.  All the commercials on TV promise us that if we just had this one more thing, we could be truly happy.  The magazines show us how to "pull off" the perfect Christmas with just the right decorations, the right table settings, even tips on how to deal with unruly relatives; how to diffuse contentious situations, etc, etc, etc.  So, hope stirs in our hearts again.  Is this hope displaced?  
This is truly a season to hope, but what our hearts are really longing for is
the hope that only God, incarnate in Jesus, can give. 
Our hearts are longing for security - in an insecure world.
He promises He will never leave, nor forsake us. 
Our hearts are longing for forgiveness - in a world that seems so calculating. 
He promises our sins will be washed whiter than snow. 
Our hearts are longing for peace - in a world that is full of turmoil.
He promises to give the peace that passes all understanding.
He promises to take up residence in our hearts, if we but open them up to Him.
His desire is to set up His government within our hearts.
Only in Him is our hope truly fulfilled.
Our hearts are longing and hoping for the Messiah, the one Isaiah spoke of:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace. 
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
Isaiah 9:6, 7
This afternoon I started to think about the coming few days where there is much on the calendar - places to go, people to see, errands to run, baking to do, Christmas activities to attend - and I started stressing - big time.  I had to talk myself down!  In just a few minutes, I lost my peace - with little or no effort!!
I was walking to my car and I started praying - "Lord, settle my heart, restore me back to where I need to be - expecting YOU to show up and carry me through - one day at a time."  My peace is restored only when my hope is in Him. 
My expectation - hope - is not in my schedule - it is in Him.
My expectation - hope - is not in finding the perfect gift - it is in Him.
My expectation - hope - is not in people doing what I want them to do or
what I think they should do - it is in Him.
My expectation - hope - is not in what the world tells me this season should be - it is in Him.
My expectation - hope - is not in the activities, gifts, or people - it is in Him.
Quietly - softly - He comes and with His coming, there is peace! 
When we long for, expect, and hope in Him, we are never disappointed!
The seldom sung third verse of O Little Town of Bethlehem:
How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

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